iF you were to envisage a concept where your life held no limits. Just how perfect would that be? And exactly what questions would have to be answered to make it that way?
Klara smelt the distinctive, sugary aroma of her icing cake and removed it from the oven. A wave of smoke escaped as she sat the baking tin down and removed her oven gloves. The sky was a deep shade, reflecting in through the window. Klara was exhausted. She had spent the entire morning cleaning Mike's apartment, before cooking him his favourite meal of chicken pasta. Instead of spending the evening with her, Mike had left for the city without so much as a thank you.
Now, alone in the apartment, Klara tried to relax. But she couldn't. As Mike's wife, she felt a moral duty to stay up for him. Against her own motives, she had also baked him a cake. Mike never spent any time with her. At least not anymore. He was her only friend, but it felt like a conditional partnership.
Klara decided to open a bottle of wine. She sat down on the large, L-shaped sofa and took a drink from her glass. Dwarfed by the size of the furniture, Klara felt even more lonely. The ugly, grey sofa indicative of her overall feeling. Most of the apartment was contemporary or rented, Mike's job was a luxury born out of a strict routine for those who could afford it. He often had to travel all over the world. This meant you never got attached to anything material or sentimental.
A few seconds later there was a beep at the door, followed by a click. Mike wandered into the apartment, swaying on his feet. Klara watched him dance his way over to the sofa in a failed attempt to gain control. He almost fell on top of her but landed a few inches to the side. His hair was dark and spiky as always but there was less color to his face. Mike had a chiseled look. Staring up drunkenly, his eyes barely open, Mike tried to speak.
'I didn't thank you for the dinner' he said. 'I'm sorry.
Klara blinked, a little surprised.
'You don't have to apologize. You're welcome'.
'Come here. You're my...'
Just then, a young girl entered the room. She couldn't have been more than about nineteen. She had beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous eye make-up. The petite girl was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She immediately caught Mike's attention.
'You came!' he said, rearing up like an excited puppy.
'Sorry I'm late. You weren't answering your phone'. The young woman had a radiant smile and seemed friendly. Klara stared back at her blankly.
'Ah' Mike replied 'I'm such an idiot! Anyway don't stand in the freezing corridor. Come in sweetheart'.
Mike ushered the new face into the apartment and sat her down next to Klara. There was already an awkward tension in the room, but this was shared only between the two girls. Mike seemed oblivious to his own actions and continued with his inappropriate behavior.
'Klara this is Laura my new club manager' he said proudly. 'She's staying the night'. Mike then turned to Laura. 'Would you like a drink first Laura?'. Without waiting for an answer Mike took the glass of wine from Klara and handed it to Laura.
Outside, a thousand stars were materializing in the blanket of sky. They showered over the apartment, sending glitter over Mike's sports car, the balcony, the jacuzzi below. All of his prized possessions, ranked side by side and sealed with a luxurious glow. Klara was inside, setting up the guest bed.
Mike and Laura were lying together on the sofa, sharing a bottle of champagne. Klara appeared from the bedroom and watched them clink glasses.
'I've set up the guest room for you Laura'. There had been no malice in Klara's voice. She had every reason to complain at this sudden intrusion, even excusing the fact that Mike was salivating over the young female who had innocently stumbled upon him in the nightclub. Even so, Mike frowned back at his wife.
'She's not staying in there' he said gruffly. 'Laura can have our bed'.
'I don't want to cause a fuss' Laura said, trying to sound polite. 'I'm happy anywhere'.
'Nonsense!' Mike replied 'You've worked hard all week, you deserve the big bed. Come on, I'll show you the room'. Mike then led Laura into his and Klara's bedroom. Slamming the door shut behind him. Klara sighed, a few tears brimming in her eyes. It was then that she noticed the cake, still sitting on the sideboard. She had completely forgotten about it.
Almost desperately, Klara scooped up the cake and hovered near the bedroom door waiting for Mike to emerge. It took over five minutes of muffled giggling and Mike's plastic voice before he finally opened the door and came out, not before wishing Laura a good night.
'I made this cake for you Mike' said Klara, her eyes attentively fixed on his. This was almost stupid, Klara felt like she was competing for affection - and with her own husband. Mike snatched the cake away and took a slither of the icing. He licked his fingers clean and gave Klara a look of approval.
'This is good' he said. 'Laura will love it'. Mike handed the cake back to Klara. 'Wrap it up and put it in the fridge. I'll give it to her tomorrow'. Mike then navigated his way to the guest room and slumped onto the bed, sprawling himself across it, leaving no room for anyone else. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
During the night, the cold weather that had been threatening to occur all day, finally revealed itself. A storm had begun outside, with the trees bristling, fences and gates crashing against each other. The rain washed against the sand and shingle, creating rivers across the pavement. It had been a warm day, and yet the nightly weather had been something of a foresight.
In the guest room, Klara lay awake, listening to the sound of the storm. Mike was next to her on the tiny camp bed. She couldn't sleep, but it wasn't the weather that was keeping her up. After such a tiring day, all she wanted was to just curl up into a ball and get some rest.
There was a faint knocking at the door. Then a louder one. After the third, the door opened and Laura walked in. She was wearing her nightgown, with a blanket over her naked shoulders. She had a worried expression. Klara said nothing as the girl knelt down and whispered something in Mike's ear. 'I'm cold' was all Klara heard.
Mike got up and followed his new friend out of the room. He turned back to check if his wife was still awake. Klara had sat up and was now staring at him with a shocked look in her eyes.
'She's scared of the storm' he said bluntly and closed door. The light was cut off and Klara was left alone in the dark.